REGINA – Service providers, police officers and policy makers attended an annual conference in Regina Friday, with the focus on preventing and ultimately eliminating domestic violence.
Darlene Juschka, University of Regina women & gender studies professor, said the issue is extremely complex to tackle.
“With violence you always have an intersection of many things and gender is not the only one. You have issues of colonization and you have issues of racism,” she said.
The sessions focused on topics ranging from human trafficking to preventing child sexual assault, but a reoccurring theme was how prevalent of an issue domestic violence is across Canada.
Dr. Mary Hampton with Saskatchewan’s RESOLVE Centre said the numbers are especially high in the prairies.
“Certainly in Saskatchewan it’s a big problem,” she said. “We don’t know why. That’s one of the things we need to find out during research. But we ask the question, is it normalized?”
One of the conference’s speakers, Judge Marylynne Beaton, oversees domestic violence court in Saskatchewan and said she’s seen people from every walk of life in her courtroom.
“It’s everywhere. It’s chronic. and it’s not just a private matter between a husband and wife. This is a societal issue, and we need to put a stop to it,” she said.
One factor contributing to the high rates in Saskatchewan is that resources are thinly spread in isolated northern communities.
“People tend to be more inclined to seek their own justice and equally in those locations you’ll find more folks that own guns and knives, so you have more weapons in those locations,” said Juschka.
The issues are complex and take more than a conference to fix, but acts as a good reference point for those working day in and day out, that progress is being made.
“We’re certainly more aware of it, and it’s certainly nothing like it was,” added Juschka.
The conference kicked off Thursday night and ran until Friday evening. People from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta attended.